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Conrad on Free Trade Pact

August 07, 1993

* As consul general of Mexico I was greatly disturbed by Conrad's July 29 cartoon. The stereotype of Mexicans wearing a "sombrero" walking with their "burro" is demeaning and offensive not only to us Mexicans but also to those of Mexican origin living in this city. We deeply regret the crude exploitation of biases that have nothing to do with today's Mexico.

It is terribly harmful to continue using misleading publicity portraying simplistic and incorrect scenarios in which Mexico could act as a fraudulent trading partner when reality shows that the economic relationship between the United States and Mexico is at its best. Bilateral trade surpasses $60 billion in goods and services that range from agricultural to high-tech products, making Mexico the United States' third most important trading partner, soon expected to become the second. The U.S. presently enjoys a $20 billion trade surplus with its southern neighbor. More than 600,000 U.S. jobs are currently supported by U.S. trade with Mexico. This relationship has increased the international competitiveness of the United States, allowing it to maintain itself as one of the strongest participants in the globalization of the world economy.

It is crucial that accurate information be provided to the public about the advantages of strengthening the relationship between Mexico and United States if we are to support each other in our needs as neighbors and to mutually benefit from the opportunities presented to us by the 21st Century.

ENRIQUE LOAEZA, Consul General

Los Angeles

* In his inimitable fashion, Conrad's NAFTA cartoon punctuates problems with the agreement between Mexico and the United States. While the positive economic impact on the U.S. trucking industry is desirable, we cannot afford to compromise any safety standards. In no way should our trade negotiators, or the Congress, sacrifice current U.S. truck safety standards.

According to the California Highway Patrol, fatalities in truck accidents have dropped 24.8% statewide from 1987-1991. This trend will not continue if NAFTA's "harmonization" process fails to include any safeguard against the lowering of our truck safety standards.

HELEN SHANBROM

Santa Ana

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